ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that that a sovereign, strong and stable Afghanistan is good for its people and in Pakistan’s strategic interest. Therefore, Pakistan has been consistently supporting Afghanistan in its reconstruction efforts as well as to achieve peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Talking to the newly appointed Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Muhammad Anwar Anwarzai, who called on him at the Prime Minister House here on Monday, Shaukat Aziz said, “The events in Afghanistan have a spill over affect on Pakistan and we will continue our support for peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan in order to maintain regional stability”.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have a deep rooted relationship based on shared history, culture, common faith, commonality of interest and economic interdependence and Islamabad wants to further strengthen the economic and trade ties with Afghanistan for which there is a great potential, he added. He said that Pakistan is eagerly waiting for the establishment of Reconstruction of Opportunities Zones (ROZs’) in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan by the United State. He said that the establishment of such zones would help increase economic activities in the areas and would create new jobs and improve the standard of living of the people.
The Prime Minister emphasized the need to promote regional trade to leverage the true potential of the region and said that Pakistan was playing a stabilizing role in a region facing many challenges. It has been moving towards promoting mutually beneficial economic linkages across the region, he added. Shaukat Aziz said the international community needs to do more to support Afghanistan through Marshall Plan type assistance programme as well as helping to eradicate poppy cultivation through crop substitution and employment generation.
The Afghan Ambassador extended the greetings of the President of Afghanistan Hamid Karazai and said Pakistan is a brotherly neighbour and would like to further improve the economic and trade relations between the two countries. He also welcomed the establishment of ROZs’ in the areas bordering Afghanistan and hoped that this would help bring wide spread change in the economic outlook of the areas.-SANA